In sex-ed class at my all-girls Catholic high school, we read a book that used shampoo to make the case for saving yourself for marriage. The argument was this: You'd never buy a pretty, pink bottle of shampoo just because it was pretty and pink — that'd be impulsive and risky. Before you invested, you'd need to find out whether it was a worthy, top quality product. So, by that logic, why would you hop in bed with the first hottie that caught your eye?
I remember raising my hand and telling the teacher that her point was completely ridiculous. Of course I would buy something based off nothing other than the fact that it's pretty and pink — hell, throw some glitter into the mix and I'll pay double. Not to mention, how could one possibly know if the shampoo is worth committing to without taking it for a spin?
Needless to say, I threw the "no sex until marriage" thing out the window a long time ago. But it was only recently that I finally stopped judging products by their appearance. I no longer favor oils in artisanal glass flacons and luxurious creams in heavy weighted jars. In fact, I've gone in the opposite direction: I only want ugly skin care.
More often than not, the products in the blah containers you'd make sure to move out of the way before taking your Top Shelf Instagram are the ones with the most science behind them. (There's a reason you won't find pretty products in any dermatologist's office, ever.) The brands spend money on ingredients, not packaging or advertising, and it shows on your face after a few weeks. Once I dipped my toes in the ugly product waters, the floodgates opened and before I knew it, my bathroom looked like a hospital's storage cabinet.
Of course, I'm still tempted by the call of the tiny bottle of crystal-infused facial moisturizer made in Woodstock by a sheep-herding yoga instructor, but I don't go home with it anymore. I'm older and more mature, and I can admit that I was wrong that day in the classroom: When it comes to skin care, ignore what's on the outside and research the shit out of what's on the inside. Now if only I could stop wasting my time on Wilhelmina models on Raya...